FOUR ARIOS: Poems From Jessica Schneider

A stylized photograph of several red ants on a tree branch, used to complement Jessica Schneider's arios.

Can’t Beat It

Often, weather is deceptive—it can feel
Cooler or warmer than water. Humidity has
Something sprinklers can do

In summer. But in winter, everything
Stills. Temperature can
Alter, make leaves lose

Number, deepening
The year. Life goes over
Time, as we. Remain not



That moment when the world loses
Power, and the trees go
Broken. Then, the sudden

Sounds of saws follow
In some sort of after
Arrangement of nature into nothing

Particular. I can’t change
Or distinguish—this
From maybe, or that from more

Or less. Gathering, gathering, but leaving what’s intact.

The Red Balloon

Tell us—does the boy ever courage
These Paris streets, alone
Wherein a red balloon still resides

While tied to some pretend tree? Reaching,
He climbs towards the myth beyond
Years. Later, will he still withstand

These same streets, surviving
Into elsewhere as one
Rising balloon? Moving, he lifts

Into breeze, his command, not.

Not No More

I really want to get up
But then I get down
And rather, I jump

Start the day as I
Finally finish that book, or walk
Across this icy lake. Still,

Something gets me
Sore, some bruise or other
Winter, unlike an ant

That even in smallness makes.

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If you enjoyed these arios from Jessica Schneider, consider supporting us and get patron-only content on our Patreon page. This will help the growth of this site, the automachination YouTube channel, and the ArtiFact Podcast. Recent episodes include a discussion of the implosion of antiracist scholar Ibram X. Kendi, an analysis of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver with poets Jessica Schneider and Laura Woods, and a debunking of Robin DiAngelo’s corporate brand of antiracism.

More from Jessica Schneider: A World as Violent and Predatory: Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion” (1965), More Ambition Than Talent (& Knowing It!): Larry Blamire’s “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra” (2001)Where Else Is There? Reviewing Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking”